An Edmonton-based developer is looking to build what he calls a “European-style” community in Kelowna.
But as it is right now, the ambitious project likely won’t get city staff’s stamp of approval.
The project is in the very early stages, with plans not even submitted to the city yet. Anton Morgulis’s 76 Group, alongside engineering firm Design Works Engineering, is proposing what amounts to a small European neighbourhood adjacent to the current location of the Kelowna Farmers’ Market along Benvoulin and Springfield roads.
Morgulis said the building would have around 200 commercial and residential units and the community would have a lifestyle and convenience he believes people are looking for in Kelowna. Renderings show multi-coloured facades that look like they could’ve been pulled straight out of a historic European city centre, with a large courtyard where Morgulis says residents will find most of their day-to-day needs.
The development is similar to one 76 Group headed in Edmonton, Manchester Square. He says that project has become something of a tourist attraction, becoming a popular spot for photoshoots in that city.
In preliminary conversations between the developer and staff, location is presenting as an issue, due to the land currently being in the agricultural land reserve. To move forward, the city would need to endorse an application to the Agricultural Land Commission, something, planning director Ryan Smith says won’t happen at the current location.
“It would contravene a number of OCP and agriculture plan policies. Cool concept, but it needs on an appropriately designated parcel… in a town centre area,” said Smith.
Morgulis said he’s disappointed the city likely won’t support the project to the Agricultural Land Commission for consideration. He’s now looking at other locations in the city that could be home to his vision, while holding onto hope for his original proposal.
“This is a pretty hard market, it’s difficult to find (a location) at a price where you can still have affordable living,” he said.
“My whole ideology is to create something people will love. I’m a true artist at heart … but I love creating something that makes people smile.”